Potty Training in Pictures

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Well, we finally took the plunge (no pun intended) and started potty training Lucas.  This is something I have been putting off and dreading, mostly because every time we mentioned the idea we would get a forceful, adamant “NO!!” from that otherwise sweet boy.

I told myself that after the holidays were over and we were done traveling, I’d get started.  I read a few things here and there, but even heading into it last week, I had no idea what I was doing.  I still don’t really know what I’m doing but I’m happy to report that the diapers are put away (except for disposable training pants at night) and he’s doing great!  Jaime and I are ecstatic.  Jaime was so pumped he spent a ridiculous amount of money on a giant Bubble Guppies balloon for Lucas, just to show him we were proud of his efforts.  You’ll see the monstrosity in the pictures below. (Bubble Guppies is a cartoon he currently likes.)

Lucas is definitely not all the way there…he had one accident today and I am still taking him to the potty most of the time.  He rarely tells me on his own if he needs to go.  He also requires a lot of help getting his pants and underwear up and down. He is a rather solid child and his clothing is getting stuck on his adorable chubby thighs.  He also needs help getting his male parts pointed in the right direction. Let’s just say the bathroom has been hosed off a few times during this process!

We are so proud of him.  He’s resistant to change in all forms and not wanting to start World War III we waited until he was showing more flexibility in other areas of his life.  He cried a few tears the first time we told him he was going to sit on the potty and one time this week he asked in a rather pitiful voice if he could please just have his diaper back, but overall it’s gone great.  Tonight as we were praying before bed he said, “Dear Jesus, thank you that I can pee pee on the potty.  Amen.”  I guess he’s on board now 🙂

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Choosing what sticker to put on his chart...

Choosing what sticker to put on his chart…

A little diaper/undie free time!

A little diaper/undie free time with his balloon.

It can get boring waiting for things to get moving...

It can get boring waiting for things to get moving…

I'm sure I said I'd never give a kid electronics on the potty but...

I’m sure I said I’d never give a kid electronics on the potty but he asked so nicely…

B: After you go pee pee on the potty you can watch Bubble Guppies." L: "Can you just move the potty into the family room?" B: "......."

B: After you go pee pee on the potty you can watch Bubble Guppies.”
L: “Can you just move the potty into the family room?”
B: “…….ok……”

Seeking out a little privacy at a friend's house.

Seeking out a little privacy at a friend’s house.

Look at all my stickers!!

Look at all my stickers!!

Getting cozy in my undies.

Getting cozy in my undies.

A shirt, undies, and slippers.  A winning combo.

A shirt, underwear and slippers. A winning combo.

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Undies come in orange! Life is good.

 

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An Update and a Non-Update

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Hi All, I’m stopping by for a quick update.  I have some good news to share about Operation Up Scale…a week into calorie counting I’ve gained a pound.  Yay!  I haven’t loved eating all those extra calories.  There were plenty of times this past week where I had to take a deep breath and force myself to finish those last few bites, but I did it.  I’m relieved the weight is returning and I’m hoping within the next month I might be back to my target weight.

I wish I could give you an update on Operation Lace Up, but alas, I cannot.  The very same day I posted that I was working on these goals again, I got sick. It was Saturday and my throat hurt so bad I headed into the clinic at my doctor’s office to have a strep test.  Other CFers may understand what I mean when I say I was really, really hoping it was strep.  I know, that sounds crazy, right? The thing is, strep is easy to cure with a few days of antibiotics.  The alternative, a virus, is much harder for my body because there are no medications available to give me a hand.

But…it wasn’t strep.  My doctor sent me home with strict instructions to rest and sleep and drink a lot of fluids.  She warned me that the viruses she had been seeing were starting out with sore throats and sinus issues and landing in the chest three or four days in. She said that they were hitting [otherwise healthy] people hard. You can imagine the trepidation I felt at hearing those words!  Please, not a repeat of December!

About 24 hours into the virus I noticed a few key differences. First of all, I never got a fever.  Second, my appetite wasn’t nearly as affected as it usually is when I get sick.  My throat hurt like crazy, my sinuses weren’t great and I was very tired, but that’s it.

I’m six days in now and feeling decent, almost normal. I’m still more tired than usual and am trying to be careful about my energy.  Because of that, I haven’t been on the treadmill since last Friday, hence no update on Operation Lace Up.  I’m hoping to feel strong enough to get back to it this weekend.

Although that goal was temporarily sidelined I’m feeling extremely encouraged and so very grateful that I didn’t get too sick with this virus or require medical intervention.  As Lucas would say, Hoooorayyyy!!

Hooray!!

Hooray!!

Things are looking up around here! (Get it?)

Operation Up Scale and Lace Up…Take Two

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As you know if you’ve been following along, I’ve been struggling with my health these past few months.  I’ve lost weight and I haven’t been consistent with exercise since I got sick in December.  This week I decided it was time to get back on the scale and back on the treadmill.  It was time to see exactly what I was dealing with and start working my way back to “normal” again.

Well, sadly, it looks like in both areas I’m back to square one.

[Gasp], Not square one!!

[Gasp], Not square one!!

Yes, square one.  *Sigh.  I have lost all of the 5-6 pounds I gained during “Operation Up Scale” last spring and summer. This is not terribly surprising. I need to consume more calories than the average person simply because I burn more calories breathing and talking and walking around because of the strain cystic fibrosis puts on my body.  I also am unable to absorb all the nutrients in my food. Because of both of these factors, when I get sick (and I’ve had both a respiratory illness and the stomach flu these past two months), I am unable to come close to meeting my body’s calorie demands, and the weight falls off rather quickly.

When I stepped back on the treadmill, I found that I could only walk at 3.5 miles per hour for 25 minutes which totaled 1.5 miles. Right before I got sick in December, I was jogging 2 miles in 25 minutes (at about 4.7 miles per hour) thanks to “Operation Lace Up“.  This big drop confirmed what I have been feeling, that my lungs are struggling.  Even when I started my modified couch to 5K program last July, I was able to start running and walking at 4 miles per hour.  Upon reflection, I realized that at that time, I had a much higher base level of fitness.  With the nice spring and summer weather, I had spent several months outside playing with Lucas and had logged many miles of walking by pushing him in his stroller to the parks, to the bus stop, to Jaime’s office and the local museums. This time I’m getting off the couch for real.  (Hmmm, the couch. So much more comfy than the treadmill.)

Now I’d like to tell you that these setbacks didn’t faze me but the truth is, I was pretty discouraged and upset at first, especially about the exercise. It took me several conversations with my husband, and several conversations with God to find peace with it. It’s hard when you work hard to achieve something and then have to start over due to circumstances outside of your control. On one hand, cystic fibrosis makes these falls harder and faster than they would otherwise be, and the journey back to health is longer and more difficult. But on the other hand, this is just life and these types of setbacks happen to everyone. So after about 18 hours of feeling disheartened and dealing with those negative voices telling me I’d probably never get back to my previous level of fitness and health, I screwed up my courage and got to work.

First I got back on MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories.  I set my goal at 3200 calories again but cut myself a little bit of slack this week.  I’m still not feeling 100% so my appetite is reduced.  I did notice that I was able to get closer to my goal each day and yesterday I finally hit the target.

I got back on the treadmill the very next day, and the day after that, and the day after that.  I was even able to push up my speed to 3.7 (baby steps).  When I did Operation Lace Up last summer, I only worked out three times per week, but I think this time I’m going to try to walk almost every day.  Because my activity level is so much lower due to this freezing cold and snowy winter, walking more is the only way I can get the base level of fitness I’m going to need if I want to try the running again.  I’ve decided just to focus on walking for a few weeks and once that gets easier, I’ll try that modified couch to 5K again and hopefully work back up to running the two miles.

So!  Here we are, Operation Up Scale and Operation Lace Up, take two.  Hopefully the shock and dismay I felt at being back at square one will turn to joy…

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and laughter…

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when I meet these two goals again.  (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…)

Silencing the Negative Voices

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Shhhhhhhhhhhh

Shhhhhhhhhhhh

Although I’m generally a positive person, I’ve been struggling with negative thoughts these past few days–struggling to maintain a positive attitude in the midst of a challenging few months.  I’m working on a blog post which I hope to publish soon about positive things I’ve seen in my life as a result of cystic fibrosis. So perhaps it is fitting and right that in the midst of that, I’m being confronted with the negative and discouraging as well. After all, I don’t want to seem phony or naive.

The negativity is coming after a few months of not feeling great. I got that doozie of a virus in December and although I recovered from it, I have yet to feel like I’ve found a solid footing or hit my stride again health-wise.  A lot of it has to do with timing.  I finished my antibiotics right as the holidays hit and between celebrations, some traveling that we just now finished up, and some unusually full weeks, I haven’t gotten back into a good routine.  I haven’t been able to exercise regularly, I haven’t gotten my weight back up (having the stomach flu last weekend didn’t help that), and I haven’t had consistent good sleep. I’ve been coughing more and struggling with my asthma.  I have yet to regain the feeling of strength and resiliency I had been enjoying.

A couple of nights ago I was feeling headachy, sore and feverish thanks to that stomach flu.  I had been coughing long and hard during my evening breathing treatment which made me vomit and I hurt all over. As I was getting into bed, I said to Jaime, “You know what, sometimes I just want it all to go away.”  Not just the stomach flu, but everything about my body which makes “simple” illnesses like stomach flu or the common cold so troublesome for me.  The frustration was overwhelming me.  I know that God has taught me many good things through cystic fibrosis.  But there are days and there are nights where I just want it all to go away. Sayonara CF, I don’t want you.

I’ve noticed that this negativity has crept into my thoughts elsewhere.  I read on someone else’s blog how they don’t let CF get in the way of their life, and I thought, “That’s great, but eventually you will have no choice in the matter.” I may have even rolled my eyes and laughed a bitter laugh. I mean, I was that person. My CF didn’t interfere.  But that can all change in the blink of an eye.

For the past several nights I have been waking up a lot, having night sweats and not sleeping well.  I think it’s just my body dealing with the stomach virus and lack of food and energy from not being able to eat.  Maybe some of it is due to the anxiety that goes hand in hand with these negative voices in my head.  As I was laying there trying to relax and stave off the coughing that was threatening to undo the rest of the night, I thought, “My health is only going to get worse from here.”  Good grief! What a depressing thought.

Even as I’m sharing these thoughts, they make me uncomfortable.  This pessimistic person, this is not really who I am. I do have hope–bright hope!  Hope in the Lord and in His plan for me, and hope that new treatments will be developed that will help me and extend my life. But I admit, sometimes I get sick and tired of having a good attitude. Sometimes I want to wallow in the mud and give in to discouragement.  Sometimes, try as I may, I can’t push the bad thoughts away.  I don’t want to learn and grow.  I just want to feel good.

So what’s a girl to do?  How do I get rid of those negative voices?  Two things come to mind.  The first comes from Hebrews 12:3 which says, “Consider Him [Jesus] who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Growing weary and losing heart perfectly sums up this past week. But considering Jesus helps in so many ways. It helps because I remember that I have someone walking alongside me who understands how I feel, and who knows me and my struggles intimately. I remember that He gives me the strength I need for one day at a time, whether it be a good day or a bad day. I remember that He faced more opposition in His lifetime than I will ever have to face. And I remember that He will bring good out of my struggle.

Considering Jesus also fills me with gratitude and gratitude breaks through negativity like nothing else. Jesus has given me the ultimate gift–life in Him and the promise of new life one day. New life without pain.  But He has also opened the floodgates and poured so many blessings into my life right now.  My basic needs have always been met.  I am surrounded by family and friends whom I love and who love me.  I’ve been given vocation and ministry. My life has purpose. I have a husband and a son who make every breath worth fighting for. When I count my blessings, I realize that they far outweigh my struggles.  The cross I have been asked to bear is manageable, and I am equipped to handle it.

I am hopeful; I am thankful.

Sayonara negative voices, I don’t want you.

Hello My Name Is…

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Jaime.

Of course you all know my lovely wife, Betsy. And oddly, you also know me. Or at least you know some things about me. When Betsy first started mulling over the possibility of starting a blog, I thought it was a great idea. She is an amazing woman with an important story to tell. Plus she is a really good writer and hilarious too. I thought it would be a great creative outlet for her and something to do when she isn’t wrangling our three year old.

Then she wrote the first post. With one click of the mouse our life became an open book. I didn’t realize was just how personal the blog would become. Suddenly I was full of reservations. I know some of the people who read Bright Hope; some are friends, some are acquaintances. Others, however, are complete strangers that, thanks to the miracle of the internet (nice one, Al Gore!), know more than a little bit about me and my family.

In the early days of the blog, Betsy and I had more than one, shall we say, discussion about the initimate nature of the blog. Of course, some of the posts are informative and others are light and whimsical. I am all for spreading the “gospel” of the health benefits derived from eating organic cranberries. I don’t have a problem sharing a cute anecdote about our son, Lucas. But there are some things that are really personal. I wasn’t crazy about her talking about our struggles.

There’s a great line from the movie About A Boy (sorry, I didn’t read the book) where Will, the cool, rich, confirmed bachelor refutes the idea that ‘no man is an island’ by proclaiming “I’m bloody Ibiza!” I’ve been to Ibiza. It is spectacular! But what I’ve learned over the years, in spite of my best attempts to be an island, is that we need other people. We need to share our experiences. We need to share life. And in doing so – in being transparent and vulnerable, we can help one another. John Lennon once wrote “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are altogether.” I have no idea what that means, really. I’m pretty sure he was on drugs! But there is this inescapable sense of being intertwined with those around us.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25.)

So I’ve come around. It’s still not easy to see some things in print (or on the screen or whatever). There are times when I want to log in when Betsy isn’t around and delete certain details from a post. But my hope is that this blog, this splendid blog written by my splendid wife (with the occasional guest post from yours truly), will continue to be a way for us to share life with all of you – our hopes, our fears, our triumphs and our failures and that we will be able to, in some small way, be an encouragement to you just as all of you are an encouragement to us.